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Top 5 Best Spy Camera Models You Can Hide Anywhere

Spy cameras have become increasingly popular, not just for private investigators and law enforcement but also for businesses and the general public.

They're ideal for catching cheating partners, keeping an eye on the babysitter, or unmasking the elusive thief at work!

But let’s face it, there are hundreds if not thousands of spy cameras on the market right now, at widely varying prices. And let’s face it, some are good and some not so good, having tried and tested a few ourselves.

A spy camera that’s ideal for one person may not be ideal for another, which is why we have created this in-depth guide to help you choose the best spy camera for you.

Below we've listed some cameras of different types we think are some of the best spy cameras we’ve found so far.

But before we show you our best spy camera picks here’s a few quick tips on spy camera specifications to look for, so you don't waste your money.

These spy camera specifications are covered in more detail later on if you want more information on them. And we do advise you go over them so you can figure out what's best for you, before you buy.

Let’s get started!

Technical Specifications That Make The Best Spy Camera

This is a quick list of technical specifications you want to check for in a good spy cam. You may not need all of these listed as it depends on what you want to use the camera for.

+ Invisibility or blends in well (camera and recording unit)
+ Size, flexibility and simplicity of use
+ Easy installation
+ Camera lens field / depth of view for what you need
+ Storage capabilities / amount: Hard Drive (HD), Storage Device (SD)
+ Video record / playback: can be exported to other media e.g. computer disk
+ Sound / audio record and playback
+ Recording length: High Definition (HD), Long Play (LP), Short Play (SP)
+ Wired or wireless or IP (internet based)
+ Power source: mains or battery operated (battery type and duration)
+ Night time capability / infrared
+ Anti-shake for movement
+ Motion detector activation
+ Weatherproof
+ Date / time stamped

For a quick glance (in no particular order) check out our table below of our best spy camera picks:

Quick Comparison: Best Spy Camera
Features We Like
Buy It Now
HD Book CameraHD video, audio, continuous record and motion detection, night vision, battery powered, 32GB.Click To Buy
Spy Pen Camera
HD video and photos, low light capability, date and time stamp, supports 32GB SD card.
Alarm Clock Radio HD Spy Camera
HD video, supports 32GB SD card, continuous or motion detection, battery / mains powered.
SecureGuard Digital Frame Spy Camera
HD video, supports 64GB SD card, continuous record or motion detection, date / time stamp.
Power Adapter Spy Cam
High Definition, date / time stamp, supports 128 GB SD card, motion detection, remote control.
And now for a more in-depth look at each of the best spy camera models...
HD Hidden Book Camera

We think the High Definition book camera is the perfect office spy, as it's actually more of an office ring binder file than a book.

This stationery spy tool is a very unobtrusive spy camera in a plain cover that doesn’t attract any interest whatsoever. And is very easily portable.

It’s a great spy camera that can sit amongst other books or files on a shelf, or positioned anywhere in a room or office, to capture dirty deeds or illegal goings-on.

What does it do?

It’s an easy to operate spy cam with one switch to start recording, either in continuous record, or motion-detection mode up to 20 feet.

The book camera also allows for audio recording with the video or you can record without sound, the choice is yours.

This book spy camera has night vision capability (ideal for dim rooms) up to 10 feet.

The great thing we love about this shelf spy is the on/off loop recording mode. It takes a 32 GB memory card (not included) but will overwrite recordings to keep itself going.

This model is of course battery powered (as it would look odd connected to the mains) so will limit the record capability over longer periods.

All-in-all, we think this book / folder spy camera is indeed one of the best.

Spy Pen Camera

The spy camera pen is a handy pocket spy you can take anywhere. It’s very covert and looks like an ordinary pen.

This is one of the best spy cameras we’ve found for an office environment, particularly with its High Definition HD camera and built-in DVR (Digital Video Recorder), which captures high resolution photos and videos.

The storage capability is an 8GB memory card that comes with the device but can support a 32GB memory card.

The spy pen also operates in low light, so you can still capture good video in poorly lit areas and with no blinking light on the pen you won’t be discovered.

The one thing we love about this pocket spy cam is the recordings have a date and time stamp which is perfect for evidential purposes.

Overall we think this is a perfect little pocket spy.

Alarm Clock Radio HD Spy Camera

This alarm clock radio spy camera has some of the best spy camera features one would want.

It is most definitely covert, looking and functioning as a real alarm clock radio, which would go unnoticed while it covertly records. You can just pop it in a room, on the side somewhere, and let it do its job.

This is a High Definition spy clock camera with high quality colour recording, but unfortunately doesn’t come with audio. However, the company that makes these will add audio capability for a small price.

The spy clock comes with a 16GB memory card, hidden in the battery compartment, but supports 32GB for more video storage.

It has a motion detection mode for recording longer periods and will also automatically rewrite over itself for continuous recordings.

And, this little beauty also comes with date and time stamped recordings, making it great for legal purposes – if you want to use it in court.

We definitely recommend this as one of the best spy cameras.

SecureGuard Digital Frame Spy Camera

The SecureGuard digital picture frame is one of the best spy cameras posing as a working digital photo frame. It looks exactly like an ordinary photo frame but contains a hidden built-in spy cam.

In addition to its stealthy look, this great spy camera is very portable and can be placed anywhere at home, or in an office environment. Place it on a desk or table top and record your secret footage.

So down to the nitty-gritty of this top spy camera!

It’s a full-colour High Definition spy camera which is great but unfortunately doesn’t record sound. So unless you definitely need to record secret audio this won’t be an option for you.

But there’s more!

It comes with a 16GB memory card with the ability to support up to 64GB as an option. That’s more than usual and plenty of storage space for a portable hidden camera.

Again, this hidden picture camera has a motion detection function to allow it to record for longer. And also has a continuous record mode (rewriting over itself), if you want it to keep going.

The video recording has a date and time stamp, which we love.

The power supply it uses is through the mains, which will allow it to use up that huge storage space it has without running out of power.

This is a top spy frame you can happily show your photos off without anyone being the wiser they are being secretly recorded, and becoming part of the picture.

Power Adapter Spy Cam

This is an incredible AC power wall adapter spy camera that looks and works like a normal power charger.

What we like about this spy cam adapter is the covert aspect – people don’t generally look downwards – so who would ever suspect?

It can be plugged into any wall socket (in an office, hotel or at home) to record the area you want to spy on. It can also be used by plugging it into an extension lead for better flexibility of use.

The secret camera adapter has a small hidden camera placed at an upwards angle of 15 degrees, ideal at floor level. It can also be used on counter tops but will only record waist level.

It’s a High Definition spy camera with high quality playback recordings, but unfortunately this little surprise doesn’t record audio. Nevertheless we love it and it is perfect if you just want video evidence.

Talking about evidence; the video recordings are date and time stamped – great for evidential purposes.

This wall spy comes with an 8 GB memory card (hidden inside the device) but supports a whopping 128GB card, which is great for HD surveillance footage.

It has the facility to record secret video continuously or using the motion activated function.

The thing that grabbed our attention to this great spy camera was the remote control.

Using the remote control to turn the spying camera on and off, as well as change the record settings to continuous or motion detection, allows for better stealth.

As a power adapter hidden spy camera, it’s one of the best models we’ve found.

How To Choose The Best Spy Camera

First off, to decide what the best spy camera is for you, you have to ask yourself – why do you need one? What's your reason or purpose for needing a hidden camera?

Before you even start looking you have to know what it is you want to achieve with a hidden camera.

Knowing this will help you narrow down the field a little, as there are many types of camera systems you can buy. And it will also help you to choose the right type of camera for your situation.

There are a multitude of reasons for needing a covert camera such as:

+ A private investigator just starting out and needing some basic investigator equipment.

+ A small business owner suspects someone of stealing, but can’t afford to hire a private investigator, so wants to find a suitable camera to catch the thief.

+ A parent suspects the babysitter of abusing their child at home while at work and wants to get evidence.

+ For use in a care home due to suspected negligence or abuse of an elderly parent.

+ Wanting added security for your home.

Knowing why you want to buy a spy camera and for what situation you will want to use one will narrow down how you will use it; which takes us onto the next step – how will you use it?

How Will You Use Your Spy Camera?

Let’s talk about general location of the cameras’ intended use.

Before buying a spy camera consider where it will be located, where you will place it. Here are some pointers to think about:

+ Indoor or outdoor use - if outdoors it will need to be weatherproof.

+ Home, office, factory - the hidden camera will need to blend into its immediate environment.

+ Fixed location or transportable – this will determine the type of camera, size and power source needed. Body worn spy cameras are ideal transportable cameras and easily go unnoticed.

Some examples of what spy cameras can be used and where:

+ Smoke detector spy cameras: these are usually used in offices or work place environments to catch thieves or monitor suspicious activity.

+ Nanny cams: these are hidden spy cameras, usually in teddy bears, that can be placed in the child’s room, in a corner or on a shelf. Nanny spy cameras are exactly what they suggest; a hidden camera to keep an eye on the nanny while you’re at work.

+ Spy watches and spy pens: these are the best types of spy cameras that can be used in meetings to get evidence of wrongdoing, such as breach of contract, bullying in the workplace, etc.

+ Spy camera glasses: can be used when covertly following someone in the street or bar. They can be worn of placed on a table directed at the target.

+ Spy camera for the car: a hidden camera placed in your car can record everything. If your car is stolen and then recovered you have the culprits on video. A well placed hidden camera in a taxi or private bus can record any evidence of pilfering by the driver or assault by a passenger.

Once you’ve figured out your reasons you will want to know some of the best types of spy cameras on the market you can buy.

What Makes The Best Type of Spy Camera?

As mentioned, there are a multitude of different spy cameras on the market that come in different models, sizes and specifications.

The best spy cameras are usually hidden in everyday objects you find around the home or office. These are great spy cameras as they can be placed literally anywhere, and the person you want to spy on wouldn’t give it a second glance.

These hidden cameras can be readily purchased online or in a spy shop or can be custom made. You can find them in objects such as:

+ Cans of soft drinks
+ Household sprays, air fresheners
+ Tissue boxes
+ Books
+ Smoke detector alarms
+ Plugs and extension leads
+ Wall clocks, bedside clocks
+ Stereos, radios, televisions
+ Calculators
+ Phone chargers
+ Lamps
+ Doorbell housings
+ Pictures

The list goes on. Theoretically you could place a hidden camera in any object you see if you are willing to pay. They come in various sizes and some very small indeed.

The Best Spy Camera Specifications

Earlier we briefly listed these specifications of what to look at when buying a spy camera. Now we will go into each in a little more detail, to give you a better understanding of what makes a good spy camera.

Spy camera invisibility or blends in well (camera and recording unit)

It goes without saying that the best spy camera needs to be invisible. When we say “invisible” we mean the camera blends in well to its immediate environment and doesn’t look out of place or conspicuous.

The best hidden camera - to pass the test - is one that is actually in plain view, but passed over at many glances of the eyes without detecting it’s a camera. It can be in full view, as in the form of an everyday object, but should be overlooked as such.

Spy camera invisibility doesn’t just mean the camera in itself. Depending on the type of camera it may come in sections – camera – recording unit – wiring. The whole camera unit needs to be hidden which includes the recording unit and wiring (if not wireless).

It’s pointless having the perfect hidden camera if the wiring can be traced back to it, or the recording unit is easily noticed. So when thinking about buying a covert spy camera think how well it can be hidden. Using a teddybear spy camera is ok as a nanny camera at home, but you wouldn’t use it in the office.

The spy cam’s size, flexibility and simplicity of use

When looking for the best spy camera to use you will want to think about the size; large or small, separate camera-recorder unit or an all-in-one unit.

Flexibility; does it need to be easily maneuverable or can it be in a fixed location.

Simple to use; can it be turned on and off with a simple touch of a button and doesn’t require a Phd to understand.

If you wanted to record a meeting in a public place, the spy camera best for this task would be a pen, a watch, or briefcase with enclosed camera. A camera that requires lots of wiring may not be ideal to wrap around your body, although there are some great body worn covert cameras with wiring, ideal for such tasks.

Easy installation of the covert camera

The best spy cameras can be installed easily but this isn’t always the case. A watch or pen camera is probably the easiest for installation; just pop it on your wrist, in your pocket, or leave it on a table.

A hidden room camera will need a little more installation work with placing the camera, and if not a wireless spy camera you will need to hide the wiring – through the roof or wall usually.

Field and depth of view of the spy camera lens

It's important your camera can actually cover the space you want to spy on and get a good picture. If you choose a camera where the field and depth of view is not adequate for the space you want to secretly record, you may end up with inadequate evidence.

The purpose of the hidden camera is to capture evidence and you want that recorded evidence to clearly show the suspect's face and actions.

If you have a large area to cover, you will probably need a spy camera system that has 4 camera units which can be placed around, to cover the whole area. If you plan on just covering a small room then a standard camera lens field and depth of view is adequate.

The spy camera’s storage capabilities

The best spy cams come with a storage facility for storing the secret recordings. There’s really no point in having a covert camera if you can’t record what or who it is you are spying on.

The storage facility usually comes in two forms. In the form of a Hard Drive (HD), which is similar to a computer hard drive. It’s a fixed or built-in drive within the camera system. The second is a Storage Device (SD) Card which is basically a memory card. This card can be removed.

You can buy covert cameras that have both Hard Drive and SD card, which is ideal.

When you look for a spy camera’s storage capability, bear in mind how much data (secret recordings) it can hold. You want one that can record and store enough data for what you need. If you only require your spy cam to record short clips then an SD card will be sufficient. But if you require a spy camera system to record hours of surveillance footage you will definitely need a built-in hard drive.

It’s always better to have more than not enough storage space.

Spy camera video record and playback function

It's very important your spy camera can record and play back that recording. It sounds dumb but we’ve come across camera systems that monitored only, which is useless actually.

Without a doubt the video playback needs to be of good quality; not grainy, pixelated recordings. This is particularly important for court cases; so when choosing to buy, buy real spy gear with quality in mind.

The top spy cameras will also let you export your footage to other media such as computer disk, or even a computer.

Recording duration of the hidden camera

We’ve talked a little about storage facility and ensuring you have enough storage space for what you need. Another great option, the better spy camera will have, is having a record-mode setting which can change how the recording is made.

The record modes used are High Definition (HD), Long Play (LP), Short Play (SP).

High Definition or HD allows for a better quality of recorded imagery giving you better clarity. This option has greater playback footage but does use up more storage space per minute.

Long Play or LP does what it says in that it gives you longer recording time although the footage is usually less quality. It’s perfect for longer needed spying.

Short Play or SP gives you a little of both, of the HD and LP modes, in that the spy camera recording is of reasonable quality and doesn’t use up too much storage space.

Having these great options allows you to switch your spy camera to different modes depending on what you need.

The hidden camera's sound and audio

Again, depending on what you use your camera for will determine if you actually need sound or audio. It’s better to have the option of recording sound. The best spy cameras will have the function of turning audio on and off.

You will definitely need audio to record conversations with your video, if it’s more of a requirement to secretly capture what someone is saying, as well as doing. If you just need to secretly capture what goes on in a warehouse or office overnight then audio recording may not be necessary.

If you opt for a voice recording spy camera make sure the audio playback quality is good. Some seemingly good spy cameras have had poor quality audio playback.

And similar to a camera's lens depth and field of view; the audio will only record voices or noise at a certain distance from it – depending on the camera type.

Important legal note: before you buy a spy camera with audio capability check your State or Country laws on recording conversations. Some States do not allow the recording of conversations unless both parties are aware it's being recorded.

Wired or wireless or WIFI (internet based) spy camera

Spy cameras can be wired, wireless, or used over an internet connection.

A wired camera system is where the camera, storage unit and mains are directly connected via cable.

A wireless spy camera is when the camera is detached physically from the recorder unit and transferring wirelessly the recordings to the storage device.

An IP Spy Camera uses the technology of the internet. The secretly installed home spy camera can be connected to remotely, using a mobile phone, even from another country.

Why choose a wired spy camera?

+ If you intend having a hidden camera system installed on a permanent basis that doesn’t require moving.

+ If you plan installing the covert camera in an area flooded with other wireless gadgets. Installing a wired camera will avoid signal interference that can reduce recording quality.

Why choose a wireless spy camera?

+ If the area you want to secretly record has no mains electrical power source.

+ You need a portable camera such as a body worn spy camera.

Why choose a WIFI spy camera?

+ Allows you to secretly monitor from anywhere, using a mobile device.

+ Gives you live real-time viewing without having to be in the camera location.

Spy camera power source

All cameras need a power source, including the best spy cameras. No matter where your spy camera is hidden it needs to have power to operate.

The usual power sources for cameras (not just hidden cameras) are either electrical mains or battery power. Some spy cameras come with a rechargeable battery (sometimes built-in, such as a spy pen) but not all.

The power to your covert camera is important and serious thought should be taken as to whether you need to connect your spy cam to the mains, or use batteries.

A few things to consider when choosing a power source:

+ The length of time you plan to keep the hidden camera in place. More time = more power needed.

+ Will you give the camera position away if you keep having to replace batteries.

+ The cost of replacing non-rechargeable batteries can be expensive.

+ Will you be using a hidden body-worn or a room camera (obviously you will need batteries if body-worn).

The spy cameras that are the best allow for both battery powered and mains use. But our recommendation on power source for is to always go for mains power, if it’s feasible.

Covert camera night-time capability

If you plan on using or having your covert camera set up outside you will want to consider options for night time capability. This also counts for using or installing your secret camera in a dark, or poorly lit room.

Cameras with monochrome (or black and white) lenses best record at night, rather than cameras with colour lenses (although colour is better during the day). So if you intend recording at night, a black and white lens camera should be used.

Some of the best hidden spy cameras come with day and night time viewing capability; whereby during the day the lens records in colour and automatically changes to monochrome (black and white) as soon as it gets dark. The camera lens has a light sensor set to change at low light levels.

Weatherproof outdoor spy camera

If whatever it is you need to spy on is outside, you will need an outdoor spy camera. The best outdoor spy cameras will be weatherproof and have night time capability.

Also, bear in mind, if you want an outside spy cam think about the temperatures the camera will need to operate in. Normal outdoor cameras don’t operate well in extreme weather conditions and so you will need to buy one specially suited for theses extremes.

There are special hidden cameras for outdoors, but they can be more expensive.

Spy camera anti-shake facility

It goes without saying if you install a covert camera against a wall or in a ceiling it won’t need an anti-shake function.

An anti-shake function is useful on body-worn cameras, whereby the amount of shake caused by the wearer is reduced. This benefits the quality of the video recording.

There is nothing worse than having camera footage that appears as though it was filmed in an earthquake, especially if it’s going to be used as evidence in a court case.

Motion activated spy camera

Having a spy camera that has a motion detection facility is great in more ways than one.

Firstly, the camera saves power.

Secondly, the camera saves storage space.

This type of spy camera is like a dormant animal that only springs into action when its prey appears.

The camera remains in quite, or standby mode. As soon as the camera lens picks up motion or movement in the area that its watching, it will automatically start recording. As soon as any motion stops and the camera detects no movement, it goes back into standby mode.

This function is great as the camera uses less power when in standby mode and isn’t recording the whole time (during times of no activity) using less storage space.

Date and time stamp on the spy cam's recordings

The best hidden spy cameras will record the date and time on the video.

Having a spy cam with date and time stamp is important if you are going to use the footage as evidence in court. But even if you don’t intend using it for court action, the date and time stamp is very useful to refer to different points on the recordings.

Trying to find something on video footage without a date and time stamp is very time consuming, especially if you have hours of footage to go through.

We hope we have given you some great tips to use when buying a spy camera, but if you're still not sure you can choose from one of our Top Spy Camera Picks.

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